Katie Eaton, one of ReSound’s Consumer Outreach Audiologists, shared her process for successfully demoing hearing aids.
- Connect the aids, reconfigure if necessary.
- Mute the hearing aids, place them on the patient’s ears and instruct the patient that they won’t hear out of the hearing aids until the DFS calibration is completed.
- Tell the patient that they will hear a loud buzz first in the left ear and then the right for a few moments. Tell them that it might sound different between ears. Tell them to be still and quiet.
- Run the calibration with the hearing aids muted. When it is through, tell the patient that you are now going to turn on the hearing aids.
- Turn on the hearing aids and speak to the patient softly. Check for volume and symmetry between aids.
- If they say the hearing aids are tinny, echoed, or if they have hollowness to their own voice, assure them that that it is NORMAL, and that every hearing aid user says the same thing. Then, tell them that those qualities will go away with normal use quickly. I typically do not change gain or other features initially to appease their initial reaction. Remember, they are actually hearing better, it’s just an initial reaction and in the end, it is in their best interest to leave the default settings and ask them to trudge through it with you for the demo. I am rather strict on this.
- If they CANNOT get over the sharpness, etc. I would take the gain in the highs and knock it down 2-3 dB to appease them momentarily.
- Now is not the time to talk at the patient. Now it becomes time for the patient to do 80% of the talking. Your chances of them leaving with the hearing aids increase incrementally when you listen to them and not talk.
- Do not talk about the hearing aids, software, features, etc.
- Ask open ended meaningful questions that get them to open up about the pain and frustration that their hearing loss has caused them. If they don’t do this, they will not have “needs” and therefore will not see how the cost of hearing aids is outweighed by the benefits.
- If they do not open up and admit to needing the aids, the patient’s companion is needed. The patient got to the clinic for some reason and it must be uncovered. By having the companion in the hearing demo room, your chance of the patient leaving with hearing aids increases by 70%! You just prevented the dreaded, “I have to go home and talk it over with my partner….”. Inaction is not helping you or the patient.
- Ask both the patient and the companion questions like:
“How has your hearing loss changed your day?”
“What has become more frustrating in your life because of your hearing loss?”
“How has his hearing loss changed how you interact daily?”
“What do you wish was different”
“How has your hearing loss impacted your relationship with your….wife/kids/church/friends/grandkids etc”?
- Ask these questions the most. Research shows that by asking these “accepting” questions, you are increasing the chances of them leaving with hearing aids significantly. They are way more impactful and powerful than the case history questions.
- Do not talk after you ask these questions. You can nod and have good eye contact. Don’t even say “yes” or “I understand”. And do not finish their sentences. Act as though this is the first time you have ever heard of these frustrations, because for them, this is all new and frustrating. Most of these folks have never spoken on this deeper level about their hearing loss out loud. Everything that they say right now, in these moments, are all the reasons why they should get the hearing aids. You never had to tell them once why they should get hearing aids; you never had to sell them on anything.
- When the time comes and they ask for pricing, state, “Mr. Jones, you just told me that you suffer in x, y and z environment. In my opinion, you would benefit most from Verso 9’s (7s or 5s). And they are $6200. Smile, look confident and DO NOT TALK.
- Let them say the next sentence. Do not assume ever that they cannot afford the hearing aids. Let them tell you what is on their mind. If they want to go to less expensive technology, first remind them that your prescription is based off of their hearing problems that they told you today and it is in their best interest to be matched to the correct technology the first time.
- If they still cannot commit, offer them Care Credit or some type of payment plan before you relent and talk lower level technology pricing.
- Throughout all of this. Remain confident and compassionate. Remember you are valuable to this person and you have the solution to their hearing needs right there in your office.